What is “the best interest of a child?”

What is “the best interest of a child?”

By: Alicia Fastman, Esquire

In the context of custody cases, the best interest of a child in a custody matter is determined by the Court’s weighing of the 16 factors enumerated by Pennsylvania’s custody statute. These factors, found under 23 Pa. C.S. §5328, are considered by a judge in his or her decision regarding custody schedule, legal custody, and any other custody-related issue before the Court.

The factors require the judge to consider which parent is best able to provide for the child in a manner that will promote his or her best interest, and include subjects such as providing and maintaining a loving and stable environment for the child, encouraging contact between the child and the other parent, and the level of conflict between the parties.

While the judge is required to consider all 16 factors, one of which is “any other relevant factor,” the statute does not dictate how much weight is to be given to each factor, and the judge has discretion in that regard. Each parent will have their strengths and weaknesses in the context of the factors, and the judge must consider each factor and determine what is in the best interest of the child based on a full review of all 16 elements.

It is important to have an attorney representing you who understands the Court’s perspective on the factors involved to ensure that your individual situation is presented in the best possible light in the context of the factors set forth by the custody statute.

To schedule an appointment with one of our attorney’s, or for  further information, call us at LaMonaca Law, at (610) 892-3877


About the author

About Alicia Fastman

Alicia Fastman graduated from Hofstra University with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology, then went on to complete her Juris Doctorate at the Widener University School of Law in Wilmington, DE. Alicia graduated from law school with pro bono distinction, completed a Certificate in Criminal Law, and focused her intensive studies within the fields of litigation and trial advocacy. Alicia joined LaMonaca Law in April of 2011 and is a Partner at the firm. She was selected as a Top Lawyer in Main Line Magazine in 2014, 2016, 2017, and 2019 in the areas of Family Law and Divorce and has been named as a Best Lawyer in the areas of Adoption and Trial in the Delaware County Daily Times. Alicia is licensed to practice law in Pennsylvania, and is a member of the Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, and Delaware County Bar Associations. Alicia resides in Delaware County with her dog, Leonard. In her time outside of the courtroom or office, she enjoys creating art, listening to podcasts, and spending time with friends and family.